Seahorse Facts ~ Sea Horse FAQ

by Robert Cheney

in Sea Horse, Sea Life

Is it seahorse or sea horse?
Either is acceptable and we will use them interchangeably here.

What is the plural of seahorse?

What do sea horses eat?
Their diet consists of fish larva and small shrimp.

Why do seahorses resemble horses?
The curved neck gives them a greater range of motion when catching prey as compared to their cousin, the pipefish.
This video explains it in more detail:

Is the seahorse a fish?
Yes. They are in the same class as pipefish. They have gills, a swim bladder and fins just like a fish.

Do sea horses have fins?
They have 4 fins – one at the base of the tail, one under the belly and one behind each cheek. No dorsal fin, though!

Do sea horses have teeth?
No, they suck food in through their long snout.

Do sea horses have a stomach?
No, Just an extended intestine.

Do sea horses have both male and female parts?
No. Both are either male or female, not both and they don’t switch.

Can one keep a pet seahorse?
Yes. Here are some tips:

  • Require a saltwater aquarium. Min. 25 gallons
  • Must be fed every day, no exception
  • Captive bred are healthiest
  • No anemones in same tank
  • No stinging coral
  • Frozen mysis shrimp is their preferred food
  • Seahorses are expensive
  • Ordering seahorses online is highly recommended
  • Best to keep in pairs
Pet Seahorse Sunburst

Pet Seahorse – Sunburst Variety

Do sea horses mate for life?
They tend to bond for life but not always. In bonded pairs, when one dies the other will die soon after.

How many species of sea horses are there?

Are seahorses endangered?
Yes. There are 39 species of endangered seahorses on the  IUCN Red List.

Why are sea horses endangered?
Three factors account for the deaths of tens of millions of sea horses each year: the Chinese medicinal trade, accidental catch by shrimp trawling and other fishing operations, and habitat destruction.

How to tell the difference between a male & female sea horse?
Males have a brood pouch that stores the babies. This results in a gentle sloping abdomen whereby a female’s is more abrupt.

What is a dwarf seahorse?
They are a small seahorse, about 2 inches long and often kept as pets. They are the slowest moving fish in the world at 5ft per hour

Are there freshwater sea horses?
No, like octopuses and starfish; they only live in the ocean.

What is unique about seahorse reproduction?
The male gets impregnated by the female and stores the eggs in its brood pouch until they hatch in about 2-3 weeks.

What is the life cycle of a seahorse?
They start off as fertilized eggs in the male’s brood pouch. 2-3 weeks later, they hatch as mini sea horses and are on their own.

Here is a video of the courtship dance of a couple of sea horses:

Describe the seahorse digestive system
The seahorse digestive tract is rather rudimentary and lacks a stomach. They suck in food whole through their snout and pass it quickly through their intestine where the nutrients are extracted. They must eat often and will starve if not fed for more than a day.

Seahorse soup recipe:

  • Dried seahorse – 20 grams
  • Lean pork – 150 grams
  • Honey dates – 4 pieces
  • Dried tangerine peel – ¼ piece
  • Salt to taste


  • Rinse and clean all ingredients, soak dried tangerine peel until tender and remove pith.
  • Parboil lean pork for 2 minutes, dish up, rinse and set aside.
  • Bring 1500 ml of water to the boil, add all ingredients in and bring to boil again. Turn to low heat and continue to simmer for another 2 hours.
  • Season with salt and serve hot
Seahorse Soup

Seahorse Soup- Asian recipes

What is the scientific classification of the seahorse?

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Subclass: Neopterygii
  • Infraclass: Teleostei
  • Order: Syngnathiformes
  • Family: Syngnathidae
  • Subfamily: Hippocampinae
  • Genus: Hippocampus

What is the scientific name for a seahorse?
Hippocampus which comes from the Ancient Greek hippos meaning “horse” and kampos meaning “sea monster”.

Is seahorse farming successful?
These days it is. Read 1 success story here:

What is the weight range of a seahorse?
Less than a gram to 2 lbs.

What is the largest seahorse species?
The Big-belly seahorse can weigh up to 2 lbs.

Do seahorses have predators? 
Crabs and stingrays eat seahorses.

What’s the purpose of their monkey tail?
They use it to hold onto the grasses they live in

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